a QM response

From: John W Burgeson (burgytwo@juno.com)
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 10:49:21 EDT

  • Next message: Lawrence Johnston: "Re: Phillip Johnson interview"

    I received interesting responses to my QM web page on another LISTSERV.
    Here it is -- I don't exactly know what to make of them. At least the
    theological side.

    Appreciation to several for comments on this.
    John Burgeson has posted several papers discussing the paradoxes in
    quantum mechanics (and provides links where other papers can be seen) at
    his Web site:


    He states: "These materials are maintained as a resource for Ph.D. level
    students at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. I am
    interested in comments on them; do they represent QM well to divinity
    students with little/no training in the sciences?"

    I briefly visited this site and noticed that most of the papers had a
    similar point of view -- that which holds the "non-locality" explanation
    for certain quantum phenomena. In this sense, the site presents
    information to theology students which might be misleading because it is
    not balanced by alternative explanations which might make more sense.
    Perhaps the following references can help provide that missing balance
    and help to dispel some of the mystery surrounding quantum mechanics as

    Firstly, on the physics side of Science, these two books might be useful
    (but they may be out of print):

    "Quantum Physics: Illusion or Reality?" (1986) by A. I. M. Rae;
    "Quantum Physics and Observed Reality: A Critical Interpretation of
    Quantum Mechanics" (1992) by H. Wimmel.

    And these papers may give some insight into why quantum mechanics works
    (it is, after all, "merely" an empirical formalism for calculating
    physical values);

    "Quantum Paradoxes Resolved: A Valid Conceptual Description of Quantum
    Physics" by H. Wimmel (Il Nuovo Cimento, Vol. 109 B, No. 10, October
    "Quantum Theory Without Observers -- Parts One and Two" by S. Goldstein
    (Physics Today, March and April 1998);
    "Quantum mirages formed by coherent projection of electronic structure"
    by H. C. Manoharan, C. P. Lutz, and D. M. Eigler (Nature, Vol. 403, 3
    February 2000).

    Secondly, on the theological side of Science, this book discusses how the
    predominate "world view" of an era permeates and conditions the
    intellectual pursuits of that era (in this light, the chapter on the
    motivations of Baruch Spinoza may be of interest to the participants in
    this Forum):

    "A History of the Synoptic Problem" (1999) by D. L. Dungan.

    These references present a scientific position on quantum mechanics
    which, I think, makes better sense than the "non-locality" explanation;
    and, as a consequence, the so-called "paradoxes" become not so
    paradoxical. It may be that the "non-locality" explanation is a
    conceptual "dead-end" and that the alternative explanation will be a more
    rewarding intellectual enterprise for your students -- especially if they
    take the Genesis account seriously!
    And a second somewhat like unto the first:

    I am writing anonymously ... and suggest the
    interesting perspective on QM experiments offered by Caroline H.
    Thompson on her Web site. A caution though -- where her critiques are
    insightful, she is involved with the "Realism" movement in Science
    (represented by the "Natural Philosophy Association" q.v.) which is
    influenced by "Occultic" doctrines (eg., those of Helena Blavatsky)
    concerning the nature of space and time. Among these questionable
    doctrines is that of the "aither" (one of the five Elements from Greek
    [primarily Pythagorean] metaphysics) that has been revived in the
    "aether" theories in modern physics. There is some merit (both
    theologically [Genesis 1:2] and scientifically [Maxwell's EM theory]) to
    acknowledging the existence of an underlying spatial substrate, but the
    occultic baggage posits that the universe is "absolute" and "eternal" --
    a "siren's song" for the theistic world view. Nevertheless, aether
    models do allow for the propagation of "de Broglie [or Bohmian] pilot
    waves" produced by matter as the agency by which both "single photon"
    interference and "action-at-a-distance" phenomena can occur. With this
    caveat in mind, theology students can explore these ideas to acquire the
    background information necessary to "pierce the darkness" surrounding QM
    rhetoric and expose the philosophical (and theological) underpinnings of
    that increasingly pseudoscientific branch of physics.
    I looked at the Caroline Thompson web site but it is rather beyond my
    understanding. It does look a little like "creation science's" challenge
    to orthodox evolutionary science, but I may be judging it too harshly.

    Burgy (John Burgeson)


    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Apr 30 2001 - 11:10:04 EDT